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November 15, 2007


The latest letter to Guild members from WGA West President Verrone summarizes the writers' side of things -- a counterpoint to recent ads from the producers (AMPTP):

To My Fellow Members:

As expected, the AMPTP today took out another set of full page ads making misleading statements. While we can’t meet them ad dollar for ad dollar, I would like to refute their charges here.

* They say that technology and the Internet is rapidly changing how Hollywood works. This is true, which is why we need a new formula to determine compensation.

* They say that writers are already paid residuals for digital downloads. It's true some companies are trying to pay us for downloading shows we’ve created at the abysmal DVD rate of a third of a penny per dollar earned by the companies. But we have never agreed to this formula, and we have initiated arbitration.

* They say we are asking for a 700% increase over what we currently receive for digital downloads. This is more than misleading. Again, some companies are trying to pay us the DVD rate. And we are asking to receive 2.5 cents per dollar. The only way to characterize our request as a 700% increase is if you accept as a given the low ball amount they’re trying to foist on us.

* They say they have offered to pay us a percentage of the revenue from Internet streaming of shows we’ve created. Here’s the truth about their offer. We would get no share of revenue for the first six weeks that our shows air. In other words, they’re offering us a share of revenue after there is little revenue left.

* They say that no labor agreement in history has given writers, actors, or directors a portion of advertising dollars. Nowhere in any of our proposals have we ever asked for a share of ad dollars. As with every residual, we are asking for a share of the revenue the corporations receive.

While I am always eager to discuss these issues with the public and the members, I also aim to have these discussions directly with the AMPTP. Therefore, instead of spending money on advertising, I ask them to return to the negotiating table, which we never left.

We are all in this together.


Patric M. Verrone
President, WGA West